The Administrative Reform Implementation and Monitoring Committee has recommended to the government to introduce a new system of providing public services in two shifts every day at government offices that cater directly to the general public.
The committee has proposed a two-shift system at such government offices– the first shift from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm and the second from 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Submitting a quarterly report to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, the committee headed by former secretary Krishna Hari Banskota, urged the government to implement a two-shift service delivery system at offices ranging from Kathmandu-based government offices to local-level offices.
The Department of Passport, Department of Foreign Employment, Department of Labor, District Administration Offices, District Development Committees, Municipalities and Village Development Committees work under immense pressure from 10 am to 5pm.
People are forced to put up with hassles and line up for several hours for basic services such as getting their passports, citizenship cards, permit cards to go abroad for employment opportunities, paying bills for electricity, telephones and drinking water supplies, receiving and renewal of driving licenses, and registration of private firms, among other things.
“We have suggested to the government to enforce a two-shift working hours system at such offices so that people need not go through any hassles while seeking services,” committee coordinator Banskota told Republica. The committee has urged the government to keep its offices open even on holidays to better serve the public.
Stating that administrative services should be people-oriented, the former secretary maintained that the existing office hours cannot deliver services as per the nature of those services.
The committee report has suggested to the government to establish special help desks so as to rid those offices of middlemen. People seeking prompt services at the Department of Transport, Department of Foreign Employment and Department of Labor and the like are preyed on by middlemen.
“Ordinary people are also unaware of the Citizens Charters displayed outside government offices. As a result their work becomes complicated and time-consuming,” Banskota said.
The committee has also proposed properly informing people about the Citizens Charters before they reach the government offices.
Banskota informed that the committee has also proposed to ban retired special-class officers (secretaries and chief secretaries) from involvement with private NGOs or INGOs for up to three years after their retirement from government service.
Stating that state coffers have been misused for providing financial assistance to the near and dear ones of ministers, political leaders and other top officials, the committee has proposed setting up special standards while distributing such funds.
It also suggested controlling the frequent and unnecessary visits by ministers and top officials to the districts. Stating that the fuel provided to government officials by their respective offices is being hugely misused, the committee has asked the government not to provide more fuel than the fixed quota.
Similarly, the committee has asked the government to organize its functions at the respective office premises or at public buildings instead of at private hotels or other such venues. The committee has suggested the government set up criteria to preserve state-owned properties and resources.
Accepting the report, Prime Minister Koirala said that he was committed to implementing its recommendations and making government services more effective. Minister for General Administration Lal Babu Pandit, among other top officials, was present at the function held at the Prime Minister´s Official Residence at Baluwatar.